Misconceptions and fallacies seem to be all around us today. There are plenty of group health insurance myths and a lot of general misunderstanding in the public about this topic. I want to teach you how your business can flourish by getting rid of these 7 Misconceptions About Group Health Insurance.
I have included actionable steps you can use starting today to help you save money while introducing company wide group health insurance benefits whether you are our customer or not.
Group health insurance benefits in today’s world can be very complex when you are trying to understand which plans and plan designs best meet the needs of your successful business strategy. Every business owner and decision maker who helps make decisions on providing benefits wants to be confident that they are providing a fantastic benefits package for their biggest asset, their employees. Your people are the face of your business and establish your company’s identity to your clients.
In this article we will be discussing seven of the most common falsehoods and myths on this topic, or as the article title states the seven misconceptions about group health insurance. We see these on a regular basis in the business world through the eyes and ears of our brokerage.
Although I believe ‘the customer is always right’ as they say, it’s still my primary focus to share ideas and educate decision makers because I realize the growth potential of our customers’ businesses is very important to our long-term success. Let’s get started.
7 Misconceptions About Group Health Insurance
1.) All Medical Insurance is the same.
This thought process can not be further from the truth. First of all, insurance carriers offer many different plans with a wide array of prices, deductibles, co-pays, office visits, pharmacy prescription benefits, and plan designs.
Different companies have different networks, ways of paying benefits, different ways of processing claims and more.
Selecting a plan with a strong network in your area is vital. A plan with a limited network in your area can lead to a lot of problems when paying claims up to the expectations of what you and your employees thought was in your plan.
2.) All insurance agencies and their agents are the same.
When an agent comes knocking on your door in order to look at your benefits package or to put a brand new package in place there are several things to keep in mind. Ask yourself these questions.
Do they have references I can talk with?
Do they give you their personal phone numbers without you asking?
Do they listen to me when I communicate my wants and needs?
Are they the kind of people I can trust for my employees well being?
These are some of the questions we feel are most important. You may have other questions, the important thing is to ask them. There are no dumb questions, as they say, the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask.
It’s true you should trust your instincts but ask the tough questions, and ask for proof! How many times have we placed trust in someone only for them to let us down because we didn’t dig deep enough to find more out about them?
3.) There’s nothing I can do to help improve my company’s rates.
Actually, there are many things that can be done to help ensure rate stability, avoid rate increases and possibly even experience future rate reductions.
Here are a few important ones.
- Make sure all employees are registered electronically with the websites of any benefit providers websites. (Many offer cell phone apps.)
- Make sure all employees are fully utilizing their preventative health wellness screenings each year.
- Employees need to be educated on things such as avoiding the emergency room unless it is a true emergency. Instead, utilize less expensive options such as a doctor’s office or urgent care facility. Many clinics and urgent care facilities are open late and on weekends. Granted sometimes there absolutely is no other choice when it’s a grave matter, but avoiding the outrageous expense of an E.R. will help lower your company’s claim experience while also saving the employee a lot of out of pocket expense.
- Prescription drugs can really be a problem to your claims ratio. Educated employees know that there are extensive lists of 4 dollar prescriptions at Walmart and other pharmaceutical chains. Employees should be urged to get free formulary drug lists from your provider and to bring them along to their doctor appointments asking the doctor to try to make them work if possible. Often an expensive drug may be a combination of 2 or more four dollar drugs. Also, many pharmaceutical manufacturers offer discounts when it’s unaffordable for patients.
- Encourage and possibly reward employees that are practicing good health habits such as smoking cessation. Many insurance providers have special programs to assist and/or reward these types of employees that are being proactive with their health.
- Take advantage of possible rate discounts that are available for doing things such as providing a tobacco-free workplace. Some providers offer discounts for a chamber of commerce membership.
- Finally, employees should be educated about in-network and out of network service providers. Many clinics and physicians will gladly accept your employees’ dollars knowing that they are not an in-network provider for your plan. This will raise costs for your employees. Educate and encourage your employees to learn which clinics, doctors, and service providers are in network and to use those providers exclusively to receive the maximum benefit and savings from your benefits plan.
For a more in-depth discussion on educating yourself and your employees on how to save money with your group health plan check out our article Strategies to Lower Group Health Insurance Rates.
4.) Price is all that matters when choosing different plans.
Although the cost of any health plan or product is a big part of the puzzle, there are many other factors to consider when comparing products to choose the right plan for you and your employees.
- What exactly are the total benefits of this plan?
- Is the network restrictive or strong?
- Is this a reputable company to deal with?
- Will we receive good customer service on a personal level?
- Does the plan meet the expectations of what we consider good coverage?
All consumers and families have their favorite household products that they swear by. Most of us are willing to pay more for quality. Often times spending a little more will mean spending less in the long run. Health insurance in no different. Think long term out of pocket expense. Is saving a little on premium worth spending a whole lot more when you are faced with a tragedy like tough sickness or injury.
We never see the value of insurance until we need it. Remember that.
5.) Our business does not need to provide health benefits.
Many studies have consistently shown why health benefits are crucial to a company’s success. Employees decisions to work for you can many times be based on benefits, especially when offered through a pre-tax payroll deduction. This can positively enhance employee retention. If an employee can go work for a competitor to provide better coverage for them and their families they will.
I believe every business should offer a wide variety of plans such as life, dental and disability coverages to their employees. Offering (employee paid) affordable voluntary supplemental plans available will increase the morale of your employees because it shows that your business really cares about them.
Employee morale is important.
Employees who brag about their benefits with your company will become some of your biggest brand ambassadors. They will do a better job for you when they are happy about the safety net your benefits program provides to them and their loved ones.
Here are the top 5 reasons to offer employee benefits according to Alice Williams co-founder of Business Bee.
- Increase Your Appeal
- Minimize Your Turnover Rate
- Better Morale
- Healthier Employees
- Better Job Performance
6.) We are going to wait and see what the government will do to help?
There is no way to predict the future moves of our government.
We all know that there is a great divide regarding how our government should move forward on health care. Maybe one day everyone will have guaranteed free or even affordable unlimited coverage. However, due to the ever-rising cost of care mostly due to new technologies and treatments that warrant increased cost, there’s no easy overnight answer. We need to live in the now and not speculate what may happen in the years to come.
7.) Implementing an employee insurance benefits package will take up too much time.
This is an area where an agent with a proven track record and experience is very important.
Every business needs an agent you can trust to not misrepresent or oversell your people. Agents like that a far and few between.
Here are some questions you should ask your agent, broker, or benefits company.
Will you help me enter all the applications in the system or do we have to do it ourselves?
Can you assure me that these changes will be implemented in a timely manner so all of our payroll deductions will be accurate and turned in on time?
Will you be faithful observing the protection of our company’s private information that we’ve entrusted you with?
Finally, a good agent will bend over backward to assist you in the administration process realizing that your time is money.
To sum things up, the right or wrong choices when it comes to benefits really matter. Making a mistake by utilizing products and agents that are sub-par can cause irreparable damage to a company’s reputation and their employee’s morale. Having complete peace of mind that you are providing the most bang for your buck is important to you and your employees.
No one ever expects to experience serious health issues. Unfortunately, no one is exempt from the possibility of unfortunate or tragic events.
Is your company doing all you can to cushion the blow of illness, injury or even death? Are you making sure you are doing all you can for your people to foster loyalty and appreciation?
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